Vice Admiral Kenneth Whitesell

Commander, Naval Air Forces/Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Mr. Bryan Scurry

Executive Director, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Captain Walt ''Sarge" Slaughter

Chief of Staff, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Force Master Chief H. Trenton Schmidt

Force Master Chief, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Commander Josh “J-Starr” Starr

Commanding Officer, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71

28 October 2020

A native of Winslow, New Jersey, Commander Starr graduated from Boston University in 2004, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations.  CDR Starr was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Program and reported to NAS Pensacola, FL for flight training in March 2005.  He earned his Naval Aviator Wings in April 2007.  In May 2007, CDR Starr reported to the Seahawks of HSM-41 for initial fleet training as an SH-60B Pilot. 

CDR Starr began his operational flying in February 2008 with the BattleCats of HSL-43.  While with the BattleCats, he made deployments aboard USS Ford (FFG 54) and USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) conducting counter-illicit trafficking operations in the Eastern Pacific.  During this tour CDR Starr served as Squadron NATOPS Officer, Detachment Maintenance Officer, and Detachment Operations Officer.

CDR Starr reported to the Seahawks of HSM-41 in June of 2011 for transition to the MH-60R and Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor duty.  During this tour he served as Maintenance Quality Assurance Officer, Schedules Officer and Limited Duty Coordinator.  In April 2014 he reported to the Air Department onboard USS Peleliu (LHA 5). Serving as Flight Deck Officer and “Mini-Boss,” he deployed to the Western Pacific supporting the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.  After decommissioning the USS Peleliu, CDR Starr reported to HSM-41 in March 2015 and served as the Training Devices Manager.

CDR Starr returned to the fleet as a department head with the Magicians of HSM-35.  While with the Magicians, he deployed as Officer in Charge of Detachment 8 aboard USS Kidd (DDG 100) as part of the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group, conducting maritime security operations in support of Combined Task Force 151.  While assigned to HSM-35, CDR Starr also served as squadron Maintenance Officer and Training Officer.

Following his department head tour, CDR Starr reported to the Joint Staff as an action officer, serving as Afghanistan Branch Chief, J-5 directorate.  While on the Joint Staff, he coordinated political-military policy development in support of operations Resolute Support and Freedom’s Sentinel, as well as U.S. national security objectives in South and Central Asia. 

CDR Starr reported as the Executive Officer of HSM-71 in March 2021 and became HSM-71’s 13th Commanding Officer in April 2022.

CDR Starr has accumulated over 2,500 flight hours in the MH-60R and SH-60B.  His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4 awards), and various service awards and ribbons. He is married to the former Natalie Saia of Boston, MA. They have a daughter, Lily and a son, Henry.

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